Entries open today (Thursday February 10) and close on March 25 for Licensing Expo’s License This! competition.

The contest, which helps designers, illustrators and animators break into the $292 billion global licensing industry, launched 12 years ago in Europe, and premiered in the US in 2021 as part of Licensing Expo Virtual.

This year, for the first time, the finale will take place in person at Licensing Expo in front of a live audience of manufacturers, retailers and brand owners and the judging panel on May 26.

Licensing Expo, which is run in partnership with industry trade association Licensing International, is the world’s largest licensing trade show and takes place in person at Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas from May 24 to May 26.

Through its two categories – Character & Animation and Brand & Design – the License This! competition aims to give unlicensed brands from across the globe a welcome leg up into the world of licensing and consumer products by helping them secure new deals or agent representation.

The contest is free to enter online and is open to any artwork, brand, or character with no merchandising deals already in place or pending. Judges are looking for new, creative concepts which have the potential to be applied across multiple product categories.

Each category winner will receive a free-of-charge 100sq ft booth at Licensing Expo 2023 worth $2,500, a one-year Licensing International membership worth $1,000 for a small business, a one-year Products of Change membership worth up to $450 for a small business, and a one-to-one consultation with License This! Judges.

Last year’s winners – Emily Blumenthal and Lindsay Kaye Lippman’s The Charmsters (Character & Animation), Xavier Smith’s Kujifunza Kids (Brand & Design) and Lawrence Canada of The Goodie Jar – will be exhibiting at Licensing Expo.

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